Here’s a look at the biggest headlines from a whirlwind day.
DOJ sends Comey memos to Congress
The Justice Department turned over to congressional committees redacted versions of the memos that James Comey wrote recounting his conversations with Trump when he was still FBI director.
Comey revealed their existence during a Senate hearing last year but now lawmakers are finally able to view the closely guarded memos since the DOJ determined it won’t impact any ongoing investigation.
The Comey memos, obtained by CNN, recount Trump’s “serious reservations” about then-national security adviser Michael Flynn, Trump’s concerns about media leaks, and Trump’s recollection of Russian President Vladimir Putin telling him that Russia had the “most beautiful hookers in the world.”
Trump’s legal team adds Rudy Giuliani
The former New York City mayor, who is a former US attorney for the Southern District of New York, joined Trump’s personal legal team on a “limited” basis after the team struggled to find lawyers who are willing to defend the President in the Russia probe.
Giuliani told CNN his intent is to help bring Mueller’s investigation to a conclusion, saying it “needs a little push.”
He plans on getting a list from Mueller of what is needed to “comply” with the probe, and depending what’s on the list, quickly provide compliance, even as soon as “a couple of weeks.”
Justice watchdog submitted criminal referral for Andrew McCabe
The Justice Department’s inspector general referred his findings on former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — who, a recent report found, “lacked candor” with internal investigators — to the US attorney’s office in Washington to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime.
McCabe’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, said he believes there will be no charges filed and that the referral was “unjustified.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had cited the IG’s findings when he fired McCabe, the former No. 2 at the FBI, last month.
Comey said he could be a “witness” in McCabe case
In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Comey said he could “potentially” wind up being a witness against McCabe.
“Given that the IG’s report reflects interactions that Andy McCabe had with me and other senior executives, I could well be a witness,” Comey told Tapper Thursday.
The IG report found that MCcabe misled investigators who were looking into a leak to the press. McCabe has said he was in position to authorize FBI officials to provide information to The Wall Street Journal and that Comey was aware McCabe had done it. Comey, however, told internal investigators that he did not recall McCabe telling him about having authorized FBI officials to speak to the media.
Rosenstein told Trump he’s not a target in Cohen investigation
It was revealed Thursday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had told Trump in a recent meeting that he’s not a target in the investigation into his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.
The source noted that Rosenstein — who is in danger of being fired by the President — was not referring to Mueller’s investigation, though his team had also informed Trump’s legal team that the President is not considered a target in that probe.
Michael Cohen dropped lawsuits over dossier
Trump’s personal lawyer Cohen dropped defamation lawsuits late Wednesday against Fusion GPS and BuzzFeed regarding the production and publication of the infamous Russia dossier.
Cohen had sued Fusion GPS, the political research firm that contracted the dossier, and BuzzFeed, the media company that published it, separately in January. He had alleged that the dossier included false information about his family ties with Russians and a trip he took overseas, as well as damaged his professional reputation.
By dropping the lawsuits, Cohen avoids turning over information about himself to the companies.
Special counsel defends its investigation
During a court hearing Thursday in the case against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the special counsel’s team indirectly pushed back against assertions that its investigation has gone rogue or corrupt.
Manafort, who was indicted on money laundering and other charges, filed a lawsuit against Rosenstein and Mueller in January, alleging that the two have unlawfully exceeded the authorities allowed under the law governing special counsel appointments. The suit also challenges Mueller’s decision to charge Manafort with alleged crimes that they say have nothing to do with the 2016 campaign. Manafort has plead not guilty to the charges.
Justice Department attorney Michael Dreeben argued Thursday that Rosenstein had discussed with Mueller what prosecutors should pursue in the Russia probe as early as last May, months before he wrote a classified memo in August that outlined Mueller’s directive.
Rosenstein’s August 2 memo gives Mueller the green light to investigate Manafort for his lobbying work in Ukraine years before the campaign, allegations that Manafort colluded with Russians during the campaign, and several other still-undisclosed allegations that Mueller could investigate.